Haridwar-Tungnath-Deoriatal-Badri Narayan in October

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#106 Nov 7th, 2017, 23:13
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thank you rajatchakraborty...your guidance, in turn, helped me complete my first trek! and if reading this write up makes you feel a little nostalgic, I am much obliged.
#107 Nov 8th, 2017, 00:20
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We left our hotel at 5 am in the morning. The night had not yet dissolved into the daylight. But the bus stand was busy. The conductors were busy convincing potential passengers. Without much trouble, one of them made us hop into his Himgiri Express. Our destination for the day was Ukhimath. But, at that time of the day, no direct bus was available. So, we chose a bus that would take us till Rudraprayag.

We were taking it as it came. We were not too sure about the options available at Rudraprayag. Of course, there were plenty of posts of the place. But, you never 'see' a place before you actually reach there. This freedom was what we were looking for. No fixed plan for us. We wanted to experience this way of travelling.

The bus roamed past Haridwar, and in the early morning sunlight, we got the first glimpse of the Ganga, white and pure--joyful. We could see the golden dish through the innumerable leaves that formed the mystery of the Rajaji National Park. The bus honked, and the silence engulfed. The sunbeams were caressing the trunks of the trees that had been standing there for decades. It was a primitive scene and the road, and the occasional vehicles were intruding into the timeless frames with grotesque shapes and sounds.

Eventually, the rawness of nature gave way to the refinement of civilization--we were entering Rishikesh, the abode of sages. A glimpse of the popular Laxmanjhula and we proceeded deeper into the mountains. The roads started to become more curvy, and the mountains taller. The mountains and the roaming clouds composed paintings on the blue canvas of the sky. It was a beautiful day and we were thinking about Devprayag that we were about to behold soon.

But even before that, it was time for breakfast. The bus stopped at Tindhara, a non-discreet town on of the numerous turns which the road ran through. It was a hearty breakfast with Alu Paratha and chutney. But the river and the mountains were obstructed by the bus, and we were waiting to move further. The journey has just began, and we had seen so little.

Eventually, we saw the spectacular Devprayag. The blue of Alkananda blending into the white of Bhagirathi to transform into the Ganga. From a few hundred feet above, the sangam seemed as calm and serene as its name befits. It is here that the mighty Ganga is formed, though she has travelled a few hundred kilometers already from the dreaded locks of Surya Kund, or the even mightier heights of the Mount Shivling. From here on, it will be worshipped as the mighty mother, who would be sustaining the entire north India.

We reached Rudraprayag by 11 am, before the time estimated by the conductor. We had quite some time at hand, and we thought of seeing the sangam. With our backpacks on, we headed towards the sangam. A new town, new roads, new people, and yet everything seemed so familiar. And soon, we started descending the stairs that would lead us to the temple and finally the prayag where Alkananda and Mandakini meet to form Alkananda. The river here is rudra, awe inspiring in its thunderous manifestation.

But does it know its destiny? Can it predict that thousands of twists and turns that are ahead of it? Does it know, after days, it would cross the banks of a city, where amidst millions; I too am struggling to survive? Or, has it imagined the multitudinous sea where it will merge one day, losing its name and form? At least at that moment, its youthfulness did not care!

We needed to proceed too. After a quick lunch, we proceeded towards the bus stand. There was a lonely bus standing at the crossroad and it was heading Ukhimath. We hopped in and occupied the left side seats as suggested by seaface on this forum. We were following Mandakini upstream. There were small patches of clouds in the horizon that was mostly guarded by the lofty mountains. Suddenly, a section of the cloud seemed a little unnatural...a little stiffer than how the clouds generally are!

Was it a peak? Yes, we could see a section of the mighty Chaukhamba. O God! Can it be this magnificent? How does the entire Chaukhamba look like? What a grand scale of creation! Magnificent is too weak a word to describe it, awe inspiring is too mild to denote how it impacted our vision. Ukhimath was approaching. We talked with the driver and he assured us to stop in front of the Bharat Sevashram before the bus climbs up to the market.

When we got down, it was 3:30 in the afternoon, the golden sun was mellowing down. We enter the ashram to check if there were any room available. We were lucky. The caretaker took us to a room from where the Kedar peak was visible. Through the window nets, we could see the massive piece of rock that has been standing high of thousands of years. How many sunrises and sunsets have it witnessed?

We were thankful of the things we have witnessed so far, and we thought of paying our homage to the gods. So, we headed towards the temple where Kedarnath is worshiped in winters. It was a beautiful walk of half an hour before we reached the temple. A temple in the Dev Bhoomi. The mighty Kedar peak was behind the clouds, at that moment, it was the temple that was standing in front of us. We bowed. As we moved out, the clouds started receding, the magnificent and the glorious Kedar started smiling, and we bowed again.

The night was chilly. The only sound we could hear was that of the Mandakini gushing through the valley some thousand feet below us. The stars lit up the sky, and fell into deep sleep.
#108 Nov 11th, 2017, 21:28
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No travelogue is complete without photographs, and here are a few I snapped on Day 1:

On our way:
Name:  On-our-way-to-Ukhimath.jpg
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Name:  Ganga on our way to Rudraprayag.jpg
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Name:  Sea-of-Mountains.jpg
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Name:  The-Ganges.jpg
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At Devprayag:
Name:  Dev-Prayag.jpg
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